Bulldogs sweep Hawks at the Ralph

Rhett Gardner rounds UMD goal Saturday night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Daniel Yun/ Dakota Student

Daniel Yun

Rhett Gardner rounds UMD goal Saturday night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Daniel Yun/ Dakota Student

Jack Harvey, Staff Writer

This past weekend at the Ralph Engelstad Arena fans watched history be made for all the wrong reasons for the UND men’s hockey team.

The Fighting Hawks hosted the NCHC leading Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs for what was previewed as a strong matchup between the 4th ranked Bulldogs and the 8th ranked Hawks. Unfortunately for UND, Duluth had other ideas.

The Hawks started strong with a power play goal scored by freshman center Tyson Jost to get things rolling. However, it didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to halt the momentum. Less than a minute later UMD’s own freshman Riley Tufte scored to put the game at an even 1-1.

Twice the Hawks came close to losing sight of a win in the first when UMD had two goals waved off due to goalie interference and a close offside goal waved off in the final second of the first.

The Bulldogs didn’t slow down, and UMD came out strong in the second pulling away by scoring three goals to flip the score 4-1 and end the night in net for junior Cam Johnson.

Senior back up Matt Hrynkiw took over between the posts in hopes to stop the bleed for the Hawks but the damage was done.

The third period saw a slight spark for UND, Shane Gersich scored his NCHC leading 17th goal on the season to make it 4-2.

Sophomore defensemen, Christian Wolanin took a huge five minute major after a check to the head of one of the Bulldogs. This penalty took away any hopes of redemption in game one with UMD scoring again to make it 5-2. Sophomore Joel Janatuinen collected one more goal to bring the final 5-3 in favor of the Bulldogs.

“Obviously we take pride at home, winning in front of our home fans in this beautiful rink,’’ UND junior center Johnny Simonson said. “It’s too bad we haven’t been able to have a better record. We take that to heart.”

The Hawks urgency to win game two increased tenfold but Saturday’s game did not show much promise either. Returning to his post, Johnson made the start for UND in game two despite Hrynkiw’s great save performance and the bulldog goaltender Hunter Miska lead the charge for UMD.

The freshman goaltender put on a stellar performance against the Hawks, stunning them by stopping 29 shots and shutting out the Hawks 4-0.

“It’s tough,’’ Junior Trevor, Duluth native, said. “You come to North Dakota, all you hear about is winning, winning, winning. winning, winning. When things aren’t going your way and you’re not playing the right way… it’s tough. It’s tough as a group, and it’s tough individually. You’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and understand if you’re giving it all you’ve got.’’

UND’s lineup in game two was drastically shaken up as two scorers from the night before, Tyson Jost and Joel Janatuinen were both out with injuries. Head coach Brad Berry moved Wolanin from defense to forward, a position familiar to Wolanin prior to his collegiate career. Brock Boeser found himself back on the first line after a long hiatus and freshman Casey Johnson filled the gap in the defense.

“They came at us hard,” UND head coach Brad Berry said. “There were some uncontested breakouts that we had that we didn’t do the details. They capitalized on them. That’s one area that when you are playing a big, heavy team, you have to be good at. We weren’t very good tonight.’’

The shutout against UND was the first shutout at home since 2011 against St. Cloud State. The score that game was also 4-0, coincidentally.

With the sweep, UMD notched its first ever season sweep against the Hawks. Previously, the only time the Hawks didn’t get a win against UMD for a whole season was in the 1974-75 season when they went 0-3-1 against Duluth.

The sweep this weekend was also the first time UND has been swept at home since 2013.

“We’ve got to get to another level,’’ Berry said, “and we got to start working Monday to get there.’’

With the sweep, North Dakota fell to 11th ranked in the Pairwise while also dropping down to 5th in NCHC standings, now 15 points off pace of first place Duluth. Despite merely being Pairwise and not the official rankings, if they hold true this will be the first time since November 2013 the Hawks are ranked lower than 10th in the country.

Looking at the schedule, UND travels to Colorado Springs to face the Colorado College Tigers where the Hawks are 154-80-11.

UND will look to bounce back Friday at the World Arena with puck drop at 8:37 p.m.

Jack Harvey is a staff writer for the Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]